A big Thank You to my regular commenters and to usually silent readers for responding to my post "Now what?" on January 3. I'd like to say something is different since the last time I wrote, but there really isn't any progress to report on.
I am struggling with focusing on working on the issue, and yet I have been working at it, if not with the focus a pen and pad of paper and pot of tea offers. At home I've been going through the tutorials offered by W3schools and surprised myself by how much HTML and CSS I actually know. I want to learn more (and I'd like my employer to pay for it ;-) ). I do blog, but not here. For Norwegian speakers, there is my weather blog, and the astrology behind that takes up a lot of my time, as does the related mailing list I'm on. The mailing list is full of wonderful people, so my weather astrology brings nothing but delight, even with all the work (and hits and misses).
At work we have finally started having customer feedback meetings, meaning a few of us from my department are meeting with our in-house customers in small groups at a time to find out what they need from us in the future. We've had three such meetings so far and have another four (at least) to go, two of which are tomorrow. This afternoon's meeting was with customer representatives from Sales that I have worked closely with, and I found myself feeling weird. No, annoyed.
Rihanna recently visited Norway and said in an interview here that what she didn't like about getting beaten by her boyfriend was that she was now seen as a victim. And that feeling is exactly what I got briefly during this afternoon's meeting: There was a moment when I became aware that the others were thinking that this meeting is about more than feedback on future needs for printed material. For a moment it seemed the air was vibrating with thoughts about our job security, about the futures of several co-workers - people our in-house customers have worked with for years. And it annoyed me that I was in that position - risking pity, risking worry. The moment past but these in-house customers had a lot experience working with sales campaigns and all the materials needed for such things, and made a point of being both very happy and very dependent upon our in-house printing and graphics department.
Great, now I'm annoyed again as I write this. Everybody's happy with us. Everybody thinks we do great work. So why do we have to defend ourselves? Why do we have to justify our existence?
Patience, Keera. It's a process and it takes time and the outcome will reveal itself in due course and all this meeting activity and information-gathering will pay off.
But it's a bit frustrating that we have to go through this with the threat of a negative outcome in the back of our minds. Although my co-workers and I all stay cheerful and pro-active, we keep revisiting the threat of down-sizing or outright disbandment; it is one of the two dozen topics of a typical coffee break.
I find I am grateful we have now been joined by a union representative at our customer feed-back meetings.